A recent video featuring a Muslim religious leader issuing a ruling forbidding the killing of Jews has sparked controversy on social media. The video shows Jordanian Salafi Sheik Ali Al-Halabi giving a lesson to a group of students. One of the students says to the Sheik: “The Jews in Palestine - some say it is permissible to kill them under any circumstances.” The Sheik replies: “One who protects you, provides you with electricity and water, and transfers money to you; one for whom you work and whose money you earn – you will double-cross him, even if he were a Jew?! This sort of killing is permissible during confrontation, during a declared war, whereas when there’s mutual trust and you double-cross and kill him – this is not permissible.”
The student then asks if this also applies to armed soldiers walking in the street, to which the Sheik replies “The same answer. Let me ask you a question: ‘Does a gunman walking in the street kill every Muslim he sees?” The student replies “No.”
Another student asks the Sheik if it were true that they [Israelis/Jews] don’t attack unless attacked first? The Sheik answers that while he didn’t know, that is what “the brothers in Palestine informed us.” However, the Sheik adds, “this general ruling – one shouldn’t think we thus defend the detested Jews, but this is the reality. Otherwise, if they killed anyone they saw, no one would remain in Palestine.”
Perhaps unsurprising, the Sheik’s comments sparked a wave of angry reactions on Facebook, where the Sheik was targeted with hateful posts including: “His face indicates he is of Jewish origin,” “This garbage, who refers to them as sheiks?,” “God’s curse upon you and your likes, it is not permissible to kill the Zionists because they transfer you money and food,” “I spit on sheiks, shave off your beard and make it a broom for the toilet,” “It is permissible to kill you, may God kill you and your likes”.
Following the angry reaction to his comments, Sheik Al-Halabi clarified his ruling, saying “The Jews are usurping occupiers, a double-crossing and treacherous people who are deceptive and cunning. They killed the messengers and the prophets … Jihad against the Jews is an obligatory one, incumbent upon every Muslim state and upon every Muslim who accepts Allah as his Lord and Islam as his religion.”
Another religious leader, Sheik Abu Himam, who was present at Al-Halabi’s lesson, also renounced the prohibition against killing Jews. In a November 7th video, Sheik Abu Himam says: “I emphasize and reiterate that it is permissible to kill the Jewish occupier, and that it is legitimate for our people in Palestine to defend [themselves] in every means and in every way which enables them to repel this enemy and kill them to the extent that they can.” He adds that “Our lofty and sublime Salafi method is known for its fidelity to those who believe and for being devoid of polytheism, atheism, and oppression, first and foremost of which are the descendants of apes and pigs, the Jews.”